“Shocking”: Supreme Court On High Court Order On Punjab Ex Top Cop

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Former Punjab Police chief getting a blanket protection from arrest in any case against him in future has been termed as “shocking” by the Supreme Court.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also given blanket protection from pending cases to former Punjab top cop Sumedh Singh Saini, who is facing charges of extrajudicial killings in the early 90s. He also faces charges linked to corruption, kidnapping and firing at protesters.

The Supreme Court today told the high court’s Chief Justice to either hear the matter himself or assign it to another bench for disposal within two weeks.

The high court in its order had said the former Punjab Director General of Police, or DGP, cannot also be arrested in cases that are likely to be filed against him, an order that the Supreme Court said it found “shocking”.

“This is an unprecedented order. How can future course of action be stayed? It is shocking and three of us (judges) feel that it is unprecedented. This will require hearing,” a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli said.

Advocate General Deepinder Singh Patwalia first drew the court’s attention to the “blanket stay, which is a protection against everything.”

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who represented the former top cop, said, “The case has been delayed by over three-and-a-half years. There have been attempts by the state (Punjab government) against him.”

To this, Chief Justice Ramana said, “Whatever it may be, you can’t pass an order saying future cases also he can’t be arrested? What is this.”

Mr Saini was charged in May 2020 in connection with the disappearance of a man in 1991, when he was working as a junior engineer with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation.

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